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Nancy Tremblay's Barn - Doreen Boulanger

When I was about 12 my friend Nancy Tremblay had a beautiful horse named Champ.  She and her family lived up on the hill on the ledge on Charlton Street in a big white 3 decker.  Their yard was shared with Vincent's Oil Company- which is still there today.

Back then, when I was growing up in the 1960's there was a big field up there that now is a giant building.My friend Nancy use to tie Champ out to graze while she was at school.  She also used to tie him over at Quinn Donais place where my father used to take us sledding further on down Charlton Street, in front of the old slaughter-house which was on the Charlton Street side in front Cotton's junk yard.  I recall there was a pony track on the Cotton property for sulky racing.

Anyway, one day in the middle of winter, Nancy and I had a frightening experience that required someone calling the fire department. We couldn't have been much older than 11 or 12 but it was cold and Nancy's father Mr. Tremblay who sat out in his chair near the garage in the summer was not around to start the old wood burning stove in the garage that doubled as a stall for Champ ( and a storage room for Champ's hay and shavings).

Well Nancy accidentally used some kerosene as I recall to start the wood stove and whoosh- the place started to light up....OH MY GOD... I just remember her rushing poor Champ out of his stall past the flames and me yelling fire out on the "rocks" as we called the ledge outside.   Then, thankfully in a mad rush of pouring sand on the flames and praying really hard or whatever the heck we did -the Southbridge Fire Department arrived and put out the rest of the small blaze and I'm sure gave us a good talking to.

I went on to become the our first female Junior Fire Chief maybe in part due to this little incident. But I've never forgotten Champ and Nancy and our near miss! Sometime I'll tell you about all the fun we had riding in the woods behind Charlton Street school up the trail to the old dump up Torrey Road.  Man those were the days....

Doreen Boulanger

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